A week or so ago, I met a man, who, not knowing I was a Republican, dropped a line in a discussion about movies to note how delighted he was that only two-thirds of Americans approved of he president’s performance. He suggested that those who disapproved of the president shared his disstaste for the man. Like many Bush-haters, he seemed convinced that the president’s low approval numbers will translate into a huge Democratic wave this fall. And a sign that, after five years of W, Americans are becoming increasingly liberal.
I did not fully understand the president’s low numbers until I left the blue island of the Hollywood area and returned to red areas of my home state last month. Two of my brothers, each of whom has contributed generously to the president and the GOP (and both having their pictures with the president displayed prominently in their homes and offices), were furious at him for failing to hold the line on spending.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC indicates they’re not alone. Other Americans want the federal government to hold the line on spending. “Asked to choose which should be its top priority, a stunning 39% selected “prohibiting Members of Congress from directing federal funds to specific projects benefiting only certain constituents”–i.e., the pork-barrel spending at the heart of the Congressional earmark process.“
Polls show the president’s support is slipping among his base. According to the latest Gallup survey, “52% of conservatives and 68% of Republicans approved of the job he is doing. Both are record lows among those groups.” It’s not just spending. Over at “Powerline, John Hinderaker tells the president he should “go on national television and say you were wrong, and you’ve changed your mind. About immigration.”
While the Democrats — and the left — may be delighting in the president’s sinking poll numbers, the numbers do not suggest Americans are becoming any less conservative. It’s one of the reasons I don’t expect this fall’s election to resemble 1994. But, then again, Republicans have been known to snatch defeat from the jaws of decline.